Kayaking with Fair Play gives a unique opportunity to get off the beaten track.
Experience the tranquillity of the river and the fascinating wildlife in and around Janjanbureh and the River Gambia National Park.
With friendly professional guides, trained by UK instructors, we offer trips to suit all levels of fitness and experience.
From half-day local paddling through to full descents of the river from Fatoto to Banjul.
Each trip is tailored to your ability and interests, with lodge accommodation, bush camping or village homestays available.
Alternatively, enjoy the comfort and luxury of being escorted by our live-aboard pirogue, The Fula Princess.
Expert guides can offer basic instruction and safety assessments for beginners.
*Start early to beat the heat of the day or go later for a sunset experience.
Paddle with your guide to the end of the Island looking for hippos, monkeys, baboons and birds on the way. Stretch your legs at Kunkiling Forest Park or Bird Safari Camp before heading back to Janjanbureh. (£30 per person)
Paddle West past the end of the island to Six Junctions, a collection of uninhabited river islands around which you have a good chance of seeing hippos, monkeys, baboons and great birdlife. Go ashore at Manna Sandbanks for a packed lunch, cold drinks and a walk around the bush.
Relax under the mango trees during the hottest part of the day before heading back to Janjanbureh. (£50 per person)
Depart Janjanbureh early in the morning heading West. Along the way, you will hope to see hippos, monkeys, baboons and incredible birdlife. You will have the chance to park the kayak and stretch your legs at various points along the way including Manna Sandbanks and Barajally. Enjoy a packed lunch at the riverside and reach the River Gambia National Park (aka Baboon Islands) by around 3 – 4 pm, when the chimps often come down to the water's edge. After seeing the chimps, you'll take a short nature walk up to Last Elephant Hill, with its great views over the river and the chance of meeting baboons and red colobus monkeys. From there continue to the wharf town of Kuntaur and take road transport back to Janjanbureh before dark. (£75 per person)
* Prices for local paddling include equipment hire, guiding, packed lunch (full days only) and entry fees to parks and road transport where applicable.
Add a night at Kairoh Garden riverside lodge, including an evening meal, breakfast and morning hike to the nearby Wassu Stone Circles for an additional £45 per person.
Our expeditions are built around your interests, time available and fitness levels. Below are a few of our favourite trips but please feel free to contact us to discuss other expedition possibilities.
How about a kayaking/hiking/cycling adventure?
Two-day, two-night Expedition: Janjanbureh, paddle through River Gambia National Park to the wharf town of Kuntaur. Visit Wassu Stone Circles.
Day 1: Meet your kayaking guide and take some time to familiarise yourself with the kayak and brush up on your skills, before departing Janjanbureh Island and heading West to Manna Sandbanks where you will stop to stretch your legs and have a packed lunch. From there you will continue on to Six Junctions, a collection of river islands where you might get your first sight of hippos. From Six Junctions it is a short paddle to Sapu / Barajally where you will camp out for the night. Your guide will cook on a campfire and you will enjoy your evening meal under the stars at the riverside.
After breakfast from the local village, depart Barajally and continue West to the River Gambia National Park (aka Baboon Islands), with the aim of being there around 3 – 4 pm, when the chimps often come down to the water's edge. After seeing the chimps, you'll take a short nature walk up to Last Elephant Hill, with its great views over the river and the chance of meeting baboons and red colobus monkeys. From there to Kairoh Garden riverside lodge in the wharf town of Kuntaur, where you will take your evening meal and spend the night.”
Take breakfast by the river and then a hike (approx 3.5km) to the Wassu Stone Circles before heading back to Janjanbureh or your next destination.
£190 per person (includes meals from lunch on day 1 to breakfast on day 3, one-night tent accommodation, one-night lodge accommodation, guiding and road transport)
Three-day, three-night expedition (two days of paddling): Janjanbureh by road to Sami Karantaba. Paddle to Bansang and Janjanbureh.
Day 1: Meet your kayaking guide and take some time to familiarise yourself with the kayak and brush up on your skills, before departing Janjanbureh Island by road to Sami Karantaba. Sami Karantaba is to the East of Janjanbureh on the North Bank of the River. It is best known as the place at which explorer Mungo Park made his base before heading into the interior of Africa. Lifestyles are still very traditional and hopefully, you will meet the village chief, who is also a spiritual healer. You will spend the night in comfortable tent accommodation near a memorial to explorer Mungo Park.
Day 2: After breakfast and goodbyes, you will paddle West from Sami Karantaba approximately 18km to Bansang. Bansang is a dusty trading town, typical of upriver Gambia. There are a couple of nice lodges and a bustling market. Accommodation and evening meal will be at a riverside lodge in Bansang.
Day 3: It is approximately another 18km back to the cultural and historic town of Janjanbureh, and you will stop on the way to Kunkiling Forest Park to stretch your legs and enjoy your packed lunch. Once back in Janjanbureh you will disembark at Musa's Garden Riverside Lodge and will be free to celebrate your successful expedition with a cold drink and your evening meal either at the lodge or at one of the island's local bar restaurants. Accommodation will be at Musa's.
£285 per person (includes meals from lunch on Day 1 to evening meal on Day 3, one-night tent accommodation, 2-nights lodge accommodation, guiding, road transport and donation to community in Sami Karantaba).
Four-day, four-night trip with 3 days of paddling: Janjanbureh, Basse Santa Su, Diabugu Tendala, Sami Karantaba, Bansang, Janjanbureh.
Day 1: Meet your guide in the cultural and historic town of Janjanbureh and feel free to take your kayak onto the river for a quick practice. Travel by public transport to Basse Santa Su, with its bustling market, border town atmosphere and lively local bars. Sleep in lodge accommodation in Basse Santa Su.
Day 2: Paddle from Basse to Diabugu Tendala. The distance is around 38km. Because the river is tidal even this far East, each day's departure will be timed to benefit from the downstream current. Diabugu Tendala is a two-family village on the North bank of the river at a local crossing point and is a very off-the-beaten-track experience. You will be treated to some local dancing and drumming (especially from the many children of the compound!) and will meet the silversmith with his traditional hand-bellowed furnace. Sleep in a local house or in tent accommodation.
Day 3: After breakfast, say goodbye to the family at Diabugu Tendala and head to Sami Karantaba. Distance approximately 35km. Sami Karantaba Tenda is a village on the river with a small school and a health centre. It is famously where Scottish Explorer, Mungo Park set up his base camp before heading into the African interior.
You will meet the chief of the village, who is also a traditional healer, and visit the small memorial to Mungo Park. Enjoy your evening meal in the chief's compound and sleep in tent accommodation near the river.
Day 4: Take breakfast by the river and depart towards the provincial town of Bansang, 18km downstream. Have lunch at a riverside lodge in Bansang before heading on to Janjanbureh, a further 18km on. Celebrate your successful expedition with a cold drink at Musa's Garden Riverside Lodge, where you will spend the night.
£380 per person (includes meals from lunch on Day 1 to evening meal on Day 4, accommodation, guiding, road transport, and a donation to communities in Diabugu Tendala and Sami Karantaba).
Kayaking Support Boat
Our luxurious live-aboard river cruiser, The Fula Princess is available to escort kayaking expeditions at prices starting from £135 per person per day (for 4 people). Sleeps four in perfect comfort or six if you don’t mind squeezing in! Message us for more details.
Want to combine hiking and kayaking?
Take a look at this 5-night adventure.
Combined Adventure Package. Five Nights. Hiking and Kayaking – Bansang to Kuntaur.
Includes: Janjanbureh, River Gambia National Park and Wassu Stone Circles
This 5-night adventure combines the best of the area’s wildlife with traditional local culture and the chance to explore the history of Janjanbureh Island.
The two days of hiking cover approximately 12km per day over relatively flat ground and the kayaking around 18km (supported by the current) per day. It offers the chance of meeting chimps, baboons, other primates, hippos, crocodiles, turtles, warthog, mongooses and a huge diversity of birds.
Our trips are flexible, so if you’d like a greater challenge or an easier route, we are happy to help. Contact us for more details.
Coming from the coastal resorts of Gambia, with an early start, you will be in the cultural and historic town of Janjanbureh by around 12 – 2 pm. Your guide will meet you there and take you for lunch at Musa’s Garden riverside lodge or a local restaurant in the town. In the afternoon you will take a tour of the Island, visiting the sacred baobab at Tinyansita, UNESCO’s Kankurang Museum, the Methodist Church, the Freedom Tree and Armitage High School. You will have the chance to learn about the critical role that the town played in efforts to abolish the slave trade in Gambia and beyond.
Later, you will take local transport to the town of Bansang, where you can check in to your riverside lodge, freshen up and take a stroll out to see the town. Bansang is a trading centre for the local villages and has a busy market and shops selling all manner of everyday items. It has one local bar, which can be a fun experience for open-minded, adventurous guests. If you’re looking for peace and tranquillity, you can relax at the lodge and watch the sunset over the river.
After taking breakfast at the lodge and buying fruit and snacks from the market, you’ll head to the wharf and take the hand-pulled ferry or one of the small rowing boats across to Bushtown on the North Bank of the river. Most of the morning will be spent hiking through the gallery forest, which is home to more than one baboon troop, different monkeys, warthogs, and reptiles such as monitor lizards and mongooses. The diversity of bird life is also impressive, particularly at the watering holes that we pass on the way. The trekking can be a bit challenging on this route, as there are no villages in this area and so many of the tracks are quite overgrown. We will stay as close to the river as the vegetation allows, cutting a path where necessary, as this gives the best chance of meeting the wildlife.
After around 8km, we leave the forest and the river, heading to the village of Dobo, where we will stop for lunch and to greet the local chief. Then we’ll hike a short distance to the river and an improvised ‘camp’ which is used by the Malian fisherman that work in this area. We’ll pitch our tents and you will be free to relax in this beautiful forest setting and swim in the river while your guide prepares your evening meal. Before the sun sets, we’ll take a short walk to look for the red colobus monkeys that sometimes spend the night nearby.
The day will start with bush tea, brewed on the fire while we strike camp, and then a short walk to Tankong Kunda for breakfast in the compound of a local Fula family. Then we will set off through open farmland to the tiny village of Jarra Ji and stop at the small shop which is located in the Chief’s compound, to buy bread for our lunch and a few snacks for the journey. The rest of the hike takes in more small communities where lifestyles are still very traditional and few travellers pass by. Local people are always interested to meet visitors and to chat, so don’t be surprised if you end up sitting, sharing a glass of green tea or two as the day goes by.
After the village of Kujew, we will climb Koli Bolong ‘Mountain’. At just 30m in height, it is not too strenuous and gives a bird’s eye view of the surrounding landscape. At the bottom of the ‘mountain’, you can cool off with a dip in the river. Our small boat will collect you from there and take you to look for hippos and then back to Janjanbureh. You will have the choice to eat at the lodge or to visit a local bar/restaurant for your evening meal. Accommodation is at Musa’s Garden, a clean attractive lodge set on the river under some mango trees.
Meet your kayaking guide after breakfast and take some time to familiarise yourself with the kayak and brush up on your skills, before departing Janjanbureh Island and heading West to Manna Sandbanks where you will stop to stretch your legs and enjoy a packed lunch.
From there you will continue on to Six Junctions, a collection of river islands where you might get your first sight of hippos. From Six junctions its a short paddle to Sapu / Barajally where you will camp out for the night. Your guide will cook on a campfire and you will enjoy your evening meal under the stars at the riverside.
After breakfast from the local village, depart Barajally and continue West to the River Gambia National Park (aka Baboon Islands), with the aim of being there around 3 pm, when the chimps often come down to the water’s edge. After seeing the chimps, you’ll take a short nature walk up to Last Elephant Hill, with its great views over the river and the chance of meeting baboons and red colobus monkeys. From there to Kairoh Garden riverside lodge in the wharf town of Kuntaur, where you will take your evening meal and spend the night.
Enjoy a leisurely breakfast by the river and then hike (approx 3.5km) to the enigmatic Wassu Stone Circles before heading on to your next destination.
Price: £385 per person (includes meals from lunch on day 1 until breakfast day 6, guiding, two nights tent accommodation, three nights lodge accommodation, entry fees, boat trip and community contributions).